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Never Married, Over 40, Well-Adjusted
Date:12/5/2009

Research debunks the 'something's wrong with being single' myth

SATURDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Pity the poor single people who pass their 40th birthday without ever tying the knot, since research has shown that never-married adults have more health woes than married folks. And, um, isn't there something wrong with those who go it alone anyway?

Not so fast.

A new study looking at psychological measures shows that never-married people aged 40 and up can be just as resourceful, psychologically speaking, as their married counterparts.

Wait, there's more.

"If you look at never marrieds who are high on mastery -- they feel like they are in the driver's seat and in control of their lives -- and high on self-sufficiency -- they know how to take care of themselves -- they actually have better emotional well-being than married people," said study author Jamila Bookwala, an associate professor of psychology at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa. Her report is published in the Nov. 30 issue of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

For the study, Bookwala drew on data from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States, looking at responses from more than 1,500 Americans aged 40 to 74. They identified themselves as married or never married. Most, 1,486, were married, while 105 had never married.

"What's new here is the never-married individual is getting attention," she said. Sometimes in research, she explained, they are combined with separated, divorced and widowed people as singles, but in her research she looked at never-married individuals only and compared them with married people.

Among her findings are that never-married adults, overall, do report lower levels of overall emotional well-being than their married counterparts in the same age group. But they are comparable when it comes to psychological resources, the stuff that helps humans deal
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